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Questions Question 1 What type of electronic component do these symbols represent. you will not be able to hear the diﬀerence in most cases! ﬁle 00983 100 kΩ audio-taper potentiometer 2 . allowing low-power audio signals to be heard: High-quality 8 Ω impedance closed-cup audio headphones step-down transformer 1N4001 diodes 1 kΩ Test probes 1 kΩ What purpose do the two diodes serve in this circuit? Hint: if you remove the diodes from the circuit. The test set is essentially a sensitive detector. ﬁle 01110 Question 3 A technician builds her own audio test set for use in troubleshooting audio electronic circuitry. Draw a schematic diagram to accompany your explanation. and what special function does it perform? Alternative symbols ﬁle 01985 Question 2 Explain how a surge protector functions: the kind of device used to protect electronic equipment against common power line voltage transients.
e. ﬁle 03726 3 . no multiple faults): T1 D1 D2 R1 Test probes R2 Rpot • Diode D1 fails open: • Diode D1 fails shorted: • Transformer T1 primary winding fails open: • Resistor R1 fails open: • Solder bridge (short) past resistor R1 : • Wiper fails to contact slide in potentiometer: For each of these conditions.Question 4 Predict how the operation of this sensitive audio detector circuit will be aﬀected as a result of the following faults. one at a time. explain why the resulting eﬀects will occur. Consider each fault independently (i.
Silver. Black. Orange.Question 5 Determine both the waveshape and amplitude of the AC signal measured by the oscilloscope at the output of this circuit: Low-voltage AC power supply 12 6 6 ??? The diodes are model 1N4001. ﬁle 01108 Question 6 Sketch the shape of the output voltage waveform for this ”clipper” circuit. assuming an ideal diode with no forward voltage drop: (ideal diode) Vout ﬁle 02353 4 . The resistor’s color code is Brown. each.
assuming an ideal diode with no forward voltage drop: Vout (ideal diode) ﬁle 02355 5 . assuming an ideal diode with no forward voltage drop: (ideal diode) Vout ﬁle 02354 Question 9 Sketch the shape of the output voltage waveform for this ”clipper” circuit.Question 7 Sketch the shape of the output voltage waveform for this ”clipper” circuit. assuming an ideal diode with no forward voltage drop: Vout (ideal diode) ﬁle 02352 Question 8 Sketch the shape of the output voltage waveform for this ”clipper” circuit.
Consider each fault independently (i.e. no multiple faults): (ideal diode) Vout D1 R1 • Diode D1 fails open: • Diode D1 fails shorted: • Resistor R1 fails open: • Resistor R1 fails shorted: For each of these conditions.Question 10 Predict how the operation of this clipper circuit will be aﬀected as a result of the following faults. explain why the resulting eﬀects will occur. ﬁle 03728 6 . no multiple faults): Vout R1 D1 (ideal diode) • Diode D1 fails open: • Diode D1 fails shorted: • Resistor R1 fails open: • Resistor R1 fails shorted: For each of these conditions. one at a time. ﬁle 03727 Question 11 Predict how the operation of this clipper circuit will be aﬀected as a result of the following faults. one at a time. explain why the resulting eﬀects will occur. Consider each fault independently (i.e.
Question 12 Design a clipper circuit that eliminates the positive portion of this AC waveform. leaving only the negative half-cycles to appear on the output: Vout ﬁle 01109 Question 13 Design a clipper circuit that clips any portion of the input AC waveform below +4 volts: Vout 6 VRMS ﬁle 01113 7 .
Question 14 Describe what happens to the shape of the load voltage waveform when the potentiometer is adjusted in this clipper circuit: +V Rseries 30 VRMS Rload Rload >> Rseries ﬁle 01111 Question 15 There is a problem with this clipper circuit. as evidenced by the output waveform: Low-voltage AC power supply 12 6 6 What is the most likely cause of this problem. and how would you verify your conclusion with further measurements? ﬁle 01114 8 .
assuming an ideal diode (no forward voltage drop and no reverse leakage): Vout ﬁle 01115 9 .Question 16 The simplest form of AM radio receiver is the so-called crystal receiver circuit. It gets its name from the very early days of solid-state electronics. through the clipping action of the diode. like a ”clipper” circuit does? Explain why or why not. when crude signal rectifying diodes were constructed from certain types of mineral crystals: Antenna Sensitive headphones "Crystal" diode Earth ground Explain how the AM radio signal becomes ”demodulated” into an audio-frequency signal. ﬁle 01112 Question 17 Clamper circuits are sometimes referred to as DC restorer circuits. ﬁle 01116 Question 18 Draw the output waveform shape for this circuit. Explain why. Does a ”clamper” circuit change the shape of a voltage waveform.
Question 19 Design a clamper circuit that biases the AC waveform so it lies completely below (negative) the zero line: Vout 6 VRMS ﬁle 02128 Question 20 In this circuit. assuming the input voltage amplitude does not change. Can you think of any practical applications for a circuit such as this? ﬁle 02129 10 . the values of capacitor C1 and resistor R1 are chosen to provide a short time constant. so as to form an integrator network. This results in a brief pulse of voltage across R1 at each leading edge of the square wave input. so they act as a diﬀerentiator network. This time-averages the brief pulses into a ﬁnal DC output voltage relatively free of ripple. C1 R2 R1 C2 Vout Explain what happens to the output voltage as the input frequency is increased. Capacitor C2 and resistor R2 are sized to provide a long time constant.
students practice by working through lots of sample problems and checking their answers against those provided by the textbook or the instructor. following each wire to each connection point. This decreases the likelihood of component damage. 2. 5. Carefully measure and record all component values prior to circuit construction. I recommend resistors between 1 kΩ and 100 kΩ. This way. choosing resistor values high enough to make damage to any active components unlikely. For successful circuit-building exercises. and are most likely to damage them by making improper connections in their circuits. If there are any substantial errors (greater than a few percent). there is a much better way. Another time-saving technique is to re-use the same components in a variety of diﬀerent circuit conﬁgurations. letting your test equipment provide the ”answers” instead of a book or another person. carefully check your circuit’s construction against the diagram. Mathematically analyze the circuit. high-wattage components (1N4001 rectifying diodes. While this is good. Carefully measure all voltages and currents. etc. and using dry-cell battery power sources rather than a benchtop power supply. Carefully build this circuit on a breadboard or other convenient medium. I recommend they experiment with large. avoid very high and very low resistor values.). Draw the schematic diagram for the circuit to be analyzed. to verify the accuracy of your analysis. follow these steps: 1. then carefully re-calculate the values and re-measure. One way you can save time and reduce the possibility of error is to begin with a very simple circuit and incrementally add components to increase its complexity after each analysis. to avoid measurement errors caused by meter ”loading” (on the high end) and to avoid transistor burnout (on the low end). rather than building a whole new circuit for each practice problem. 4. and verifying these elements one-by-one on the diagram. you won’t have to measure any component’s value more than once. 3. ﬁle 00505 11 . Typically. When students are ﬁrst learning about semiconductor devices. 7.Question 21 Don’t just sit there! Build something!! Learning to mathematically analyze circuits requires much study and practice. solving for all voltage and current values. As usual. Check the accuracy of the circuit’s construction. TO-220 or TO-3 case power transistors. You will learn much more by actually building and analyzing real circuits. 6.
I’ll let you research what is unique about the behavior of these devices. in the event of accidental connection to a large voltage source. Answer 5 The output will be a square wave with a peak-to-peak voltage of approximately 1. • Resistor R1 fails open: No sound heard at headphones at all. • Wiper fails to contact slide in potentiometer: No sound heard at headphones at all. Calculate this larger value. Sometimes they are referred to by the acronym MOV. • Transformer T1 primary winding fails open: No sound heard at headphones at all. Follow-up question: plot an approximate graph of current versus voltage for a varistor. Answer 6 (ideal diode) Vout 12 . Review question: the purpose of the transformer is to increase the eﬀective impedance of the headphones.4 volts. I’ll let you research designs and schematic diagrams on your own! Answer 3 The diodes serve to protect the listener from very loud volumes. • Solder bridge (short) past resistor R1 : Volume (slightly) louder than usual. and comment on how this compares to the current/voltage characteristic of a normal resistor. others use zener diodes. given a transformer turns ratio of 22:1. • Diode D1 fails shorted: No sound heard at headphones at all.Answers Answer 1 These are varistors. clipping of large signals will be incomplete (only one-half of the waveform will be clipped in amplitude). which stands for Metal Oxide Varistor. and others use more advanced technologies. Answer 2 Some surge protectors use varistors. Answer 4 • Diode D1 fails open: No eﬀect on small signals. from 8 Ω to a much larger value.
but realistically there may not be much clipping if the receiving circuit has an extremely large input impedance. • Resistor R1 fails shorted: No output voltage at all. • Diode D1 fails shorted: Full AC signal at output (no clipping at all). • Resistor R1 fails open: No change (if diode is indeed ideal). 13 .Answer 7 Vout (ideal diode) Answer 8 (ideal diode) Vout Answer 9 Vout (ideal diode) Answer 10 • Diode D1 fails open: No output voltage at all.
Follow-up question: modify this circuit to function as a variable negative peak clipper instead. • Resistor R1 fails open: No output voltage at all. • Diode D1 fails shorted: No output voltage at all. • Resistor R1 fails shorted: Normal operation if source impedance is substantial. Explain what the output waveform would look like if a real diode were used. not a real diode. Answer 12 Vout Note: the circuit shown here is not the only possible solution! Follow-up question: the output waveform shown for this circuit is true only for an ideal diode.Answer 11 • Diode D1 fails open: Full AC signal at output (no clipping at all). otherwise diode and/or source may be damaged by direct short every half-cycle. 14 . What characteristic(s) of Schottky diodes make them well suited for many clipper applications? Answer 14 The potentiometer adjusts the threshold at which the positive peak of the AC waveform is clipped. Answer 13 Vout 6 VRMS 4V Follow-up question: explain why a Schottky diode is shown in this circuit rather than a regular silicon PN-junction diode. and recommend a diode model that closely approximates the ideal case for this application.
but this is only one possibility. This lends itself to frequency measurement applications. Answer 21 Let the electrons themselves give you the answers to your own ”practice problems”! 15 . Answer 18 Vout 0V Follow-up question: how does the clamper circuit ”know” how much it needs to bias the AC voltage waveform so that it gets shifted just enough to eliminate reversals of polarity? Would this circuit function the same if the AC voltage were increased or decreased? Explain why. Answer 16 This simple AM ”detector” circuit is widely discussed in basic electronics textbooks and other technical literature.Answer 15 The diode might be failed open. Answer 19 Vout 6 VRMS Answer 20 The DC output voltage will increase as the input signal frequency is increased. I leave it to you to do the research! Answer 17 ”Clamper” circuits provide just enough DC bias voltage to oﬀset an AC signal so that almost its entire shape occurs either above or below ground potential. There is little I can say here that would expand on what is already written about these circuits.
I am very enthusiastic about the potential of this circuit for student engagement and learning . It may be used as a sensitive ”null” instrument in both AC and DC bridge circuits (again. it is actually rather common. With my cheap ”Radio Shack” closed-cup headphones. I highly recommend that students build such an audio test set for their own experimental purposes. Even with no ampliﬁer. Notes 4 The purpose of this question is to approach the domain of circuit troubleshooting from a perspective of knowing what the fault is. By making and breaking contact with the test probe(s). giving several thousand volts worth of isolation between primary and secondary windings. . While this may seem to be a rather unorthodox use of diodes.1 µA with my detector! Your mileage may vary. and how sensitive your headphones are. The circuit even works to detect DC signals and AC signals with frequencies beyond the audio range. Place such a coil near a working computer hard drive. I did not understand that they had a substantial forward voltage drop. . rather than only knowing what the symptoms are. this instrument is amazingly sensitive.Notes Notes 1 Ask your students to reveal their information sources used when researching varistors. Questions such as this should be followed (eventually) by other questions asking students to identify likely faults based on measurements. mind you. ”scratching” sounds will be produced if a signal of suﬃcient magnitude is present. I have used my own audio detector many times in lieu of an oscilloscope to detect distortion in audio circuits (very rough assessments. An old microwave over power transformer works even better (when used in a step-down conﬁguration). which is the key to understanding how they work in applications such as this. and also if they were able to determine how these devices are constructed. depending on how good your hearing is. I was very confused why the meter movement had two diodes connected to it in parallel like this. and you can hear the read/write head servos in action! If it isn’t clear to you already. Another fun thing to do with this detector is connect it to an open coil of wire and ”listen” for AC magnetic ﬁelds. and is insulated enough to provide a good margin of safety (electrical isolation) for most applications. Notes 2 Ask students how a surge protector (or surge ”suppressor”) is similar in principle to clipper circuits used for small electronic signals. DC detection requires you to make and break contact with the circuit. Although this is not necessarily a realistic perspective. All I knew about diodes at the time was that they acted as one-way valves for electricity. listening for ”clicking” or ”scratching” sounds in the headphones). Notes 5 Ask your students why the waveform will be square rather than sinusoidal. it helps students build the foundational knowledge necessary to diagnose a faulted circuit from empirical data. Is it a perfect square-wave? Why or why not? 16 . Incidentally. not precision at all) and even as a detector of DC voltage (detecting the photovoltaic output voltage of a regular LED). An inexpensive 120 volt/6 volt step-down power transformer works well as an impedance-matching transformer. Notes 3 My ﬁrst encounter with this application of diodes came when I was quite young. I am able to reliably detect DC currents of less than 0. soldering together a kit multimeter.
it helps students build the foundational knowledge necessary to diagnose a faulted circuit from empirical data.Notes 6 This circuit is not diﬃcult to analyze if you consider both half-cycles of the AC voltage source. either individually or in groups. at the front of the classroom so everyone can see and understand. either individually or in groups. Questions such as this should be followed (eventually) by other questions asking students to identify likely faults based on measurements. Notes 12 A good review of basic diode concepts here. Notes 9 This circuit is not diﬃcult to analyze if you consider both half-cycles of the AC voltage source. Ask your students to demonstrate this method of analysis. 17 . Notes 11 The purpose of this question is to approach the domain of circuit troubleshooting from a perspective of knowing what the fault is. Notes 7 This circuit is not diﬃcult to analyze if you consider both half-cycles of the AC voltage source. Questions such as this should be followed (eventually) by other questions asking students to identify likely faults based on measurements. Although this is not necessarily a realistic perspective. Ask your students to demonstrate this method of analysis. Students should recognize the output waveform as being indicative of half-wave rectiﬁcation. at the front of the classroom so everyone can see and understand. either individually or in groups. Notes 10 The purpose of this question is to approach the domain of circuit troubleshooting from a perspective of knowing what the fault is. which may cause them to think of other circuit designs. at the front of the classroom so everyone can see and understand. one at a time. Ask your students to demonstrate this method of analysis. one at a time. either individually or in groups. one at a time. this is an excellent opportunity to discuss them! Their low forward voltage drop and fast switching characteristics make them superior for most signal clipper and clamper circuits. Notes 13 Ask your students whether they would classify this circuit as a series or a shunt clipper. rather than only knowing what the symptoms are. If your students are unfamiliar with Schottky diodes. at the front of the classroom so everyone can see and understand. rather than only knowing what the symptoms are. Ask your students to demonstrate this method of analysis. Although this is not necessarily a realistic perspective. Notes 8 This circuit is not diﬃcult to analyze if you consider both half-cycles of the AC voltage source. it helps students build the foundational knowledge necessary to diagnose a faulted circuit from empirical data. one at a time.
Notes 15 Have your students ﬁgured out any other possibilities for the fault in this circuit? They do exist. Notes 16 Ask your students to explain the purpose of each component in the ”crystal” radio circuit. Notes 18 Ask your students to replace the capacitor with a DC voltage source (oriented in the correct polarity. and be sure to have them explain their follow-up diagnostic procedures. and explain how the capacitor actually functions as a voltage bias in this clamper circuit.” of course). then ask them to think of possible applications for a circuit such as this. If they have diﬃculty thinking of anything practical.Notes 14 Some students may ask what this mathematical statement means: Rload >> Rseries Explain to them that the ”double-chevron” symbol means ”much greater than” (reversing the chevrons would mean ”much less than. Notes 20 Do not accept an answer from students along the lines of ”frequency measurement. Notes 17 Ask your students to provide an example of a clamper circuit schematic. of course). 18 . not just those components related to the clipping function. and in fact may be more likely than a failed-open diode! Ask your students how and why they chose the answer they did. Notes 19 Have multiple students share their thoughts as to how they designed the clamper circuit.” Ask them to provide some practical examples of systems where frequency measurement is important. suggest that the input (square wave) signal might come from a sensor detecting shaft rotation (one pulse per revolution).
If your goal is to educate theoretical physicists. I never cease to be amazed at how poorly students grasp instructions when presented in a typical lecture (instructor monologue) format! A note to those instructors who may complain about the ”wasted” time required to have students build real circuits instead of just mathematically analyzing theoretical circuits: What is the purpose of students taking your course? If your students will be working with real circuits. and try to mathematically predict the various voltage and current values. Another reason for following this method of practice is to teach students scientiﬁc method: the process of testing a hypothesis (in this case. In most sciences. geology. Students will also develop real troubleshooting skills as they occasionally make circuit construction errors. Exploit the convenience inherent to your science. They also need real. by all means! But most of us plan for our students to do something in the real world with the education we give them. So. thus empowering them to continue their electrical/electronics education autonomously. it fails to fully educate them. realistic experiments are much more diﬃcult and expensive to set up than electrical circuits. but you can. having students build their own practice problems teaches them how to perform primary research. They can’t. Discuss these issues with your students in the same Socratic manner you would normally discuss the worksheet questions. and get those students of yours practicing their math on lots of real circuits! 19 . then stick with abstract analysis. Furthermore. Students don’t just need mathematical practice.” and students gain practical proﬁciency they wouldn’t gain merely by solving equations. and provide answers for students to check their work against. To this end.Notes 21 It has been my experience that students require much practice with circuit analysis to become proﬁcient. rather than simply telling them what they should and should not do. Nuclear physics. This way. Spend a few moments of time with your class to review some of the ”rules” for building circuits before they begin. hands-on practice building circuits and using test equipment. The ”wasted” time spent building real circuits will pay huge dividends when it comes time for them to apply their knowledge to practical problems. the mathematical theory ”comes alive. biology. mathematical predictions) by performing a real experiment. instructors usually provide their students with lots of practice problems to work through. I suggest the following alternative approach: students should build their own ”practice problems” with real components. and chemistry professors would just love to be able to have their students apply advanced mathematics to real experiments posing no safety hazard and costing less than a textbook. While this approach makes students proﬁcient in circuit theory. then they should learn on real circuits whenever possible.
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